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Policy options for heroin

Drug policy provides a plethora of different types of interventions for government and community to implement. Indeed, the breadth of possible drug interventions is so wide that to date, no-one has endeavoured to document all the possible drug policy interventions, or conceptualise them within common frameworks.

In the Excel spreadsheet attached above, we provide a comprehensive list of drug policy interventions for heroin. 107 different interventions are listed, divided into the four categories of law enforcement, prevention, harm reduction and treatment.

Despite a systematic process aiming to identify all possible interventions, we do not believe that we now have a definitive list. We would be happy to receive any additions to the list, or suggested changes.

There are some caveats: The degree to which individual interventions are clustered together under one heading or disaggregated varies; for example, the treatment interventions are all fairly precisely divided, whereas the law enforcement interventions have less specificity to them at this time. We have not used combined categories (for example school-based drug education that uses multiple approaches, or methadone maintenance combined with relapse prevention counselling). Some interventions may require further description in order for them to be clear to a non-drug specialist audience. Furthermore, and most importantly, the list does not differentiate between those interventions with a strong evidence-base versus those which have a relatively weak evidence-base.


For further information:

Ritter, A., & McDonald, D. (2005). Monograph No. 2: Drug policy interventions: A comprehensive list and a review of classification schemes. DPMP Monograph Series. Fitzroy: Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre.
Full text

Ritter, A. and McDonald, D. (2008). Illicit drug policies: scoping the interventions and taxonomies. Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy, 15(1), 15-35.
Abstract / Full text